Isabell Werth has narrow lead going into Olympic dressage freestyle

  • Isabell Werth brought the individual grand prix special dressage test at the Olympic Games to a dramatic conclusion when Satchmo reversed violently a few steps into a piaffe movement in front of the judges’ boxes.

    The error may have cost her the individual gold medal, as before it occurred, she was scoring over 80% and would have established a lead of around 8% more than Anky van Grunsven.

    Instead, the pair are now just 0.24pen apart and, knowing Anky’s renowned superiority in the freestyle, Isabell could see the gold medal disappear.

    “I really don’t know what happened,” said Isabell, who put a brave front on what must be a devastating moment.

    “I was really upset, but I knew I just had to hold it all together. It has cost me about about 8 or 9%.”

    Heike Kemmer is in 3rd place for Germany on 72.96%, and many people would like to see her elegant appearances on Bonaparte rewarded with a first individual medal.

    America’s Steffen Peters lies fourth on 71.8%, while the failure of some of the big names, such as Nadine Capellman who is only 17th with 67.24 on Elvis, to score higher, has given prominence to 2 new faces.

    Russia’s Alexandra Korelova is 5th on her “pink” stallion, the former police horse Balagur, and Mexico’s Bernadette Vincent is 6th on Vincent.

    Emma Hindle produced an excellent test, though perhaps not with quite the zest as her outstanding grand prix exhibition 3 nights earlier, and is lying 9th. She will be Britain’s sole representative in the freestyle on Tuesday.

    Laura Bechtolsheimer was careful to keep cool before her test this time, only putting on her top hat and tails at the last minute and wearing cooling wristbands, but was disappointed to score only 67.16%, her only real mistake being a “miss” in the piaffe.

    “I’m pretty disappointed with my mark — I would have expected around 70% for that — but I’m thrilled that I’ve come back into the ring and pulled off a good performance,” she said.

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